[WikiEN-l] Wikipedia's destiny - Harry Reid

Steve Bennett stevage at gmail.com
Wed Feb 22 12:15:04 UTC 2006

On 2/22/06, Sue Anne Reed <sreed1234 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> However, I do think the Harry Reid issue raises an interesting question.
> If Wikipedia is going to be a trusted source of information, there seems
> to me that there is a need for us to vet "living people" articles in a
> way that allows those people to respond to criticisms. We criticized
> Congressional staffers who "anonymously" edited articles both of the
> people that they were working for and of the opposition. In this
> instance, with Harry Reid's staff, they are making a very open request
> to Jimbo and the others in WP:OFFICE to identify things that they
> disagree with in the article about Reid.

This happens all the time, doesn't it? People contact the help desk,
editors are alerted, and whatever changes are made as we see fit.
Usually the problem is a lack of attention to the article causing a
distortion as a function of the few editors who've worked on it.

The basic approach of "drastic changes to placate complainant first,
ask questions later" seems quite reasonable. Has it been abused?

> I don't know how Wikipedia is going to handle this as it continues to
> become a more widely read source of information. People, especially
> politicians, are going to want to be able to have a voice in that
> information. How do we balance that with NPOV? On the Abramoff / Reid
> situation, I don't think you'll be able to reach NPOV. Folks on the
> right and possibly centrists are going to point to certain facts and say
> that it shows Reid is connected to the lobbying scandal and that he's a
> hypocrite for saying he's not. Folks on the left are going to call it a
> giant smear campaign by the right to try and downplay their culpability.

Wikipedia doesn't try and be the One True Voice Of Reason - it simply
includes the relevant viewpoints in seemingly fair proportions. So
there would be no reason not to include accusations from both 'the
right' and 'the left'. It's up to news organizations how they choose
to use them.


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